Nick Nurse fired as coach of the Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors have fired Nick Nurse, after five seasons as head coach of the team.
Nurse had an impressive tenure in Toronto to start, including a 2019 NBA championship and the 2019-20 Coach of the Year award in his first two seasons as head coach, which followed five years as an assistant coach under Dwane Casey. The Raptors missed the playoffs entirely in 2020-21, but bounced back nicely last season, with a 48-34 regular season record. The Raptors took a step back this year though, finishing with the ninth-best regular-season record (41-41) in the East.
"The decision to make a change like this is never arrived at easily or taken lightly, especially when it comes to a person who has been an integral part of this franchise's most historic accomplishments, and who has been a steady leader through some of our team's most challenging times," Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a media release. "As we reflect on Nick’s many successes, we thank him and his family, and wish them the best in future."
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski adds that former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka will be a top candidate to replace Nurse. Meanwhile, Nurse himself could be headed for the vacant Houston Rockets job, per Wojnarowski, as he’s expected to be a top candidate there.
Former Celtics coach Ime Udoka is expected to be a serious candidate to replace Nurse, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/L15nmpkxVo— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 21, 2023
Nurse will immediately become a prominent candidate in the Houston Rockets’ coaching search, sources tell ESPN. He won the 2019 NBA title as Raptors coach, and was voted the 2020 NBA Coach of the Year.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 21, 2023
"My stance on the relationship with the front office is what I said earlier," Nurse told reporters at last week's end-of-season press conference. "Masai really wants to win, I really want to win… our communication is open… my job is to make the best decisions for this organization, I’ve always believed that from day one."
The news comes following weeks of rumours of Nurse's future with the team.
"I think that 10 years is a good time to sit back and reflect a little bit. I think we’re going to do that all when the season ends," Nurse told reporters in Philadelphia on March 31. "Even personally I'm gonna take a few weeks to see where I'm at, where my head's at, to see how the relationship with the organization is and everything. It's been 10 years for me now, which is a pretty good run."
Nurse concludes his tenure with the Raptors with a record of 227-163, and three playoff berths in five seasons.
Before joining the Raptors in 2013 as an assistant, Nurse worked in 12 different organizations across the US and the UK as either a head or an assistant coach. He remains the head coach of the Canadian men’s national team ahead of their appearance at the 2023 FIBA World Cup and pushes for a berth in the 2024 Summer Olympics.
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